Another airbag theft spree has happened in Arlington.

The spree was reported to police Thursday morning in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood. Airbags were stolen from nine Honda vehicles, according to Arlington County police.

Dozens and dozens of such thefts have been reported so far this year. The latest thefts happened on the same week that ACPD announced the arrests of two airbag theft suspects.

More from an ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series) (Late), 2022-11170051, 2600 block of S. Vance Court. At approximately 7:24 a.m. on November 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. The investigation determined between approximately 4:00 p.m. on November 16 and 7:24 a.m. on November 17, the unknown suspect(s) forced entry into approximately nine vehicles and stole the airbags. The vehicles are all described as Honda models. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Vehicle window shot out last week (photo courtesy anonymous)

Someone shot out or smashed the windows on two dozen vehicles parked in Arlington during one night last week.

The vandalism spree happened overnight between the evening of Thursday, Oct. 20 and the morning of Friday, Oct. 21.

“An unknown suspect(s) smashed the windows of approximately 24 victim vehicles with an unknown object,” ACPD spokesperson Alli Shorb told ARLnow. “The victim vehicles varied in make and model. There is no suspect description(s) at this time. The investigation is ongoing.”

The locations of damaged vehicles included neighborhoods in and around Crystal City, Rosslyn, Courthouse, Ballston, Waverly Hills and Dominion Hills.

Location of damaged vehicles (courtesy ACPD)

One of the victims, whose vehicle was parked in the North Highland neighborhood near Rosslyn when it was damaged, believes that the vandal or vandals were using BB guns or something similar.

“I believe it was a BB gun or air rifle. I can’t find a round or BB in my car to be sure, however,” he told ARLnow. “My car and another from my block in North Highland are pictured.”

Update on 10/26/22 — Another vehicle vandalism spree has been reported, potentially involving the same suspect or suspects.

Update on 10/27/22Yet vehicle vandalism spree by a BB gun-armed suspect (or suspects) has been reported.

Update on 10/28/22 — A suspect has been arrested, Arlington County police announced.

Vehicle window shot out last week (photo courtesy anonymous)
File photo

Arlington has seen an explosion in catalytic converter thefts over the past two years, according to updated stats from county police.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 3 of this year, 172 such thefts were reported to the Arlington County Police Department, according to a department spokesperson. That’s up more than 2,350% compared to the 7 catalytic converter thefts reported during the same time period in 2020.

ACPD says it investigated 43 converter thefts during that period in 2021.

Catalytic converter theft stats (courtesy ACPD)

At least five additional catalytic converters were stolen over the past few days, all from Toyota vehicles.

The thefts took place in the Aurora Highlands, Crystal City, Fairlington and Long Branch Creek neighborhoods, according to a crime report published by the police department and two additional reports obtained after inquiries from ARLnow.

From ACPD:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-10030077/10030095/10030126, 1900 block of S. Eads Street/4600 block of 36th Street S./2700 block of S. Uhle Street. At approximately 8:58 a.m. on October 3, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. During the course of the investigation, it was determined three Toyota vehicles had their catalytic converters stolen during overnight hours. Additionally, an airbag was stolen from a Honda vehicle in the 4600 block of 36th Street S. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO, 2022-10034003, 700 block of 19th Street S. Between approximately 5:55 p.m. on September 30 and 9:55 a.m. on October 3, a catalytic converter was stolen from a Toyota model vehicle.

LARCENY FROM AUTO, 2022-10034004, 1800 block of S. Grant Street. Between the evening of September 30 and 10:25 a.m. on October 3, a catalytic converter was stolen from a Toyota model vehicle.

The Toyota Prius is a particularly popular model for thieves to target.

“Priuses with model years 2004-2009 are top targets,” NBC 4 reported earlier this year. “Their catalytic converters contain precious metals that can bring up to $1,000 when resold. Repairing and replacing the catalytic converter runs more than $2,000.”

The thefts have continued throughout the year despite state legislation to toughen penalties and some recent arrests. Last month ARLnow reported on nearly a dozen catalytic converter thefts in various Arlington neighborhoods.

Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Just days after the last reported series of airbag thefts in Arlington, police are investigating another.

Arlington County police say a thief or thieves smashed windows on and stole airbags from three Honda vehicles on the 900 block of S. Rolfe Street, near Towers Park.

Dozens of similar thefts — mostly involving Hondas and Acuras — have been reported so far this year, including a series of four less than a week ago.

From ACPD:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Late, Series), 2022-09050059, 900 block of S. Rolfe Street. At approximately 6:41 a.m. on September 5, police were dispatched to the report of a late larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined between approximately 11:30 p.m. on September 4 and 6:41 a.m. on September 5 the unknown suspect(s) smashed the driver’s side windows of three vehicles and stole the airbags. All vehicles involved are Honda models. There is no suspect description at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

Also in the latest ACPD crime report, police say a man pulled out and loaded a gun inside a business along Columbia Pike — and then walked away without making any threats or demands.

The odd situation played out Friday night on the 2900 block of the Pike, which is home to a Domino’s Pizza and a CVS, among other businesses. Arlington police typically do not reveal the identities of people or entities that have been the victims of crimes.

More via ACPD:

BRANDISHING, 2022-09020220, 2600 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 8:49 p.m. on September 2, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 8:43 p.m., the unknown male suspect entered into the business, approached the counter, removed a firearm and magazine from his waistband and loaded it before fleeing the scene on foot. The suspect did not make any demands or threats. No injuries were reported and no items were reported stolen or damaged. Responding officers canvassed the area yielding negative results.

File photo

Thieves recently stole nearly a dozen catalytic converters early Wednesday in a crime spree that spanned numerous North Arlington neighborhoods, police say.

Word of the thefts follows Wednesday’s arrest of three people from Chicago who were allegedly seen tampering with cars near Columbia Pike and found with catalytic converters and power tools.

It’s unclear whether that crew may be linked to any of these newly-reported thefts of the valuable car component.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-08310031, 2100 block of 18th Street N. Between 12:01 a.m. on August 31 and 7:05 a.m. on August 31, unknown suspects stole approximately 11 catalytic converters from 9 victim vehicles. Witnesses reported observing 3 – 4 Black males wearing bandanas near some of the incident locations. Reported incidents occurred in the Colonial Village, East Falls Church, Highland Park-Overlee Knolls, Lyon Village, Rock Spring, Westover Village neighborhoods. The investigation is ongoing.

On Thursday, meanwhile, four cars — all Hondas or Acuras — had airbags stolen in the Shirlington area. Arlington has seen dozens of airbags stolen from cars this year, as thieves target another car part that’s valuable on the resell market.

From ACPD:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series, Late), 2022-09010077, 4200 block of 31st Street S. At approximately 8:03 a.m. on September 1, police were dispatched to the report of a late series of larceny from autos. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 9:40 p.m. on August 31 and 8:03 on September 1, the unknown suspect(s) smashed the driver’s side windows of four vehicles and stole the airbags. The victim vehicles were Honda and Acura models. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

A trio of catalytic converter theft suspects, all from Chicago, were arrested early this morning.

Arlington police say they were able to track down all three suspects after they tried to speed off in a car, which they then crashed in the Penrose neighborhood. They were later arrested in the northern portion of the neighborhood, near Sequoia Plaza and Butler Holmes Park.

The arrests, which come amid a rash of thefts of the valuable car part across Arlington, ultimately happened thanks to an alert resident who reported a vehicle break-in along 13th Road S., near the Arlington Village condos, around 2 a.m.

More from an Arlington County police crime report:

VEHICLE TAMPERING, 2022-08310022, 2700 block of 13th Road S. At approximately 1:55 a.m. on August 31, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tapering in progress. Responding officers located a parked vehicle on Walter Reed Drive at S. Randolph Street matching the description provided by the reporting party and observed three male suspects enter the vehicle. Officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted a traffic stop but the driver fled from the scene at a high rate of speed. Additional officers responded to the scene and located the unoccupied suspect vehicle crashed in the 2600 block of 2nd Street S. Officers established a perimeter and located one suspect at 1st Place S. and S. Barton and the other two suspects were located in the 100 block of S. Wise Street and taken into custody. A search of the suspect vehicle resulted in the recovery of two catalytic converters and power tools.

The three suspects, who range in age from 29 to 34, are facing a number of charges, including Eluding, Tampering with Auto, Larceny with Intent to Sell, Possession of Burglarious Tools and, in the case of one suspect, Hit and Run.

Asked by ARLnow about whether the suspects were previously known to ACPD or suspected in other catalytic converter thefts, police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said the investigation is still underway.

“Detectives will continue to investigate to determine if the suspects are linked to any other reported thefts,” she said, adding that “Virginia law prohibits the disclosure of someone’s prior criminal history.”

File photo

A 54-year-old Alexandria man is in jail after police say he broke into and stole items from two cars and tampered with five others.

The arrest happened last night around midnight, in a pair of neighborhoods along Columbia Pike.

The man was caught, police say, after an alert off-duty officer spotted him trying to break in to several parked cars, then detained him until on-duty units arrived.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

VEHICLE TAMPERING (Series), 2022-08250293/08260015, 2500 block of 9th Road S./1100 block of S. Walter Reed Drive. At approximately 11:56 p.m. on August 25, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering. The investigation determined that an off-duty police officer observed the suspect attempting to enter into parked vehicles in the area before making contact with him and detaining him until the arrival of additional units. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect allegedly entered into and tampered with seven victim vehicles and stole personal items from two of the vehicles. During a search of his person incident to arrest, drug paraphernalia was recovered. [The suspect], 54, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with Vehicle Tampering (x4), Petit Larceny from a Vehicle (x2), Grand Larceny from a Vehicle, Credit Card Theft, and Possession of Controlled Paraphernalia. He was held without bail.


Morning Notes

Sunset along Columbia Pike near the Air Force Memorial (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

County Fair Starts Today — “The Arlington County Fair will take place from August 17 – 21 at Thomas Jefferson Community Center located at 3501 2nd Street S. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closure to accommodate the event: From approximately 8:00 a.m. on August 17 to 11:00 p.m. on August 21… 2nd Street S. closed between S. Jackson Street and S. Irving Street.” [ACPD]

Fewer Car Tax Notices — “Arlington County Board members as part of their annual budget process eliminated the $33-per-vehicle decal fee… About 20,000 vehicles will thus have nothing owed on them, and the treasurer’s office has decided not to send notices to them. An additional 30,000 county residents who own two or more vehicles under the same name will see their billing information consolidated into a single mailing in order to achieve ‘significant savings on paper and postage,’ Treasurer Carla de la Pava said in an Aug. 15 letter.” [Sun Gazette]

Senators Hail New Law — “U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law: ‘We’re proud that this law will lower the price of prescription drugs, reduce the deficit, bring down energy bills and fight climate change… We will continue to look for ways to support the health and well-being of our communities, decrease inflation, and lower costs for Virginians.'” [Sen. Mark Warner]

Opera Making a Comeback? — “Supporters of Northern Virginia’s opera scene are hoping to reanimate the dormant Opera Guild of Northern Virginia, which through the years has raised funds and provided other support to opera organizations as well as promoting fellowships among those who appreciate the art form and introducing children to the unique and inclusive nature of opera.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 81 and low of 65. Sunrise at 6:26 am and sunset at 8:02 pm. []

Neighborhood cut-through traffic near Duke Street in Alexandria (courtesy Jill Hoffman)

Cut-through traffic may not make many headlines here in Arlington, but it has been a big topic of conversation in our neighbor to the south.

Alexandria communities, particularly those along Duke Street, have long complained about drivers trying to beat the traffic on the main road by taking neighborhood streets. The city has even implemented a pilot program intended to cut down on cut-through traffic, which some residents say is made worse by navigation apps steering people around traffic congestion.

Outwardly, there has not been a similar outcry here in Arlington. In fact, the county — at least as of a few years ago — has actually seen traffic volumes decline on many major roads despite population growth.

But that doesn’t mean that cut-through traffic is not a concern for some. Last month a proposed new road segment in Douglas Park was put on hold, in part due to worries about cut-through traffic. Last year, cut-through traffic was brought up as VDOT considered various plans to turn Route 1 in Crystal City into an “urban boulevard,” which raised the possibility of some existing traffic spilling onto neighborhood streets.

In 2017, meanwhile, an Aurora Hills resident said in a letter to the editor that changes to S. Eads Street resulted in cut-through traffic in her neighborhood. (To our knowledge, that particular concern has faded in recent years.)

Typically, when traffic on local roads becomes a significant safety concern in Arlington, the go-to action for the county government is to slow rather than restrict traffic, by implementing traffic calming measures, like speed bumps, narrowed lanes and reduced speed limits. But there are still examples of local streets near schools, for instance, with restrictions intended to prohibit cut-through drivers, as well as other instances in which a road was split into two dead-end sections for similar reasons.

This morning we’re wondering whether, in 2022, Arlington residents consider cut-through traffic to be a significant problem here.

File photo

Arlington County police are investigating another series of airbag thefts.

The latest series was reported on the 1900 block of S. Eads Street in Crystal City just before 5:30 a.m. Thursday. A tipster tells us that thieves appeared to target Honda Civics parked at the Crystal House apartment complex.

More from an ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO, (Series), 2022-07280041, 1900 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 5:21 a.m. on July 28, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:00 p.m. on July 27 and 5:15 a.m. on July 28, the unknown suspect(s) smashed the windows to ten vehicles. Air bags were stolen from seven of the vehicles and tires were stolen from two of the vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

The seven airbag thefts reported yesterday are in addition to the nearly three dozen reported earlier this month in several Arlington neighborhoods, including Rosslyn and Pentagon City. Those thefts targeted Honda and Acura vehicles, police said.

On the same block of S. Eads Street yesterday morning, meanwhile, officers responded to another crime: an alleged break-in attempt at a business. A 57-year-old suspect was arrested and is being held without bond on charges of Unlawful Entry and Possession of Burglarious Tools, police say.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2022-07280259, 1900 block of S. Eads Street. At approximately 10:57 a.m. on July 28, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. The investigation determined the suspect allegedly attempted to force entry into a business before fleeing the area on a bicycle when a witness confronted him. A lookout was broadcast and responding officers located the suspect in the area of the 2000 block of S. Fern Street and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, burglarious tools were located on the suspect’s person and within his property.


Morning Notes

A runner passes a construction site in Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Capital Plan, Bond Referenda Approved — “The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.9 billion ten-year Capital Improvement Plan that focuses on stormwater management and flood response, climate and environmental programs, parks, transportation, and community infrastructure over the next decade… [as well as] bond referenda totaling $510.5 million to be put before Arlington voters on the November ballot.” [Arlington County]

GOP Group Wants Fewer Vote Drops — “A Republican group seeking to have Arlington election officials reduce the number of 24-hour voting dropboxes in the county got something of a cold shoulder at the July 14 Electoral Board meeting… Representatives of a national Republican voter-integrity effort asked that the number of dropboxes be reduced from nine to as few as three, citing both cost and ballot-integrity issues.” [Sun Gazette]

Primary Voting Stats — “About 57 percent of the just over 25,000 voters who cast ballots in the primary did so on Election Day at polling precincts, according to data reported to Arlington Electoral Board members on July 14. About 30 percent cast ballots by mail, and the remaining 13 percent cast ballots in advance at one of three early-voting sites.” [Sun Gazette]

Car Show This Weekend — The Green Valley antique and classic car show is happening this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Drew Elementary School. The 8th annual event will also feature a parade. [Twitter]

Family Bike Ride Planned — From Kidical Mass ARL: “Tour de Spraygrounds! This Saturday 7/23 meet at 11am at Mosaic Park in @Ballston (come early to play in the water!) We’ll bike on neighborhood streets down to the sprayground at @PenroseSquare. All are welcome. Tell your friends.” [Twitter]

Car Crash PSA — From Dave Statter: “Video of the crash with 1 hurt this afternoon on I-395N at Boundary Channel provides a good reminder. Before getting out of your vehicle after a collision make sure it’s safe to do so & your vehicle is secure & won’t continue to roll.” [Twitter]

Arlington-Born Gym Expanding — “A boutique gym is bringing its boxing-inspired workouts to Fairfax County. Introduced to Rosslyn in 2018, BASH Boxing will soon extend its reach beyond Arlington County for the first time with a new studio at the Mosaic District in Merrifield.” [FFXnow]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 92 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. []


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